Located at the head of the Tamar Valley, Launceston (or Lonnie to the locals) is Tasmania's second largest city and a vibrant hub for food and wine. Known for its outstanding Victorian and Edwardian architecture, century-old parks, cultural offerings and a wealth of outdoor activities, Launceston is packed with scenic highlights.
Launceston was settled in 1806, making it Australia's third oldest city, and many impressive colonial buildings remain today. There are three heritage walks to follow, taking you past many architectural splendours, including the Old Post Office, the neo-classical Town Hall and Henty House. For a fascinating insight into the city's cultural heritage visit the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery, the largest regional gallery in Australia. It enjoys a national profile for its collections of Australian colonial art, decorative arts and design, Tasmanian history and natural science.
Don't miss Salamanca Place, a short walk from the waterfront, whose 1830s Georgian warehouses are now filled with galleries, theatres, craft shops and restaurants. Every Saturday the iconic Salamanca Market is held and brings the area to life with colours, sounds and aromas of Tasmania while musicians and street performers provide rich entertainment.
Just a short 15 minute walk from the city centre, Cataract Gorge is a slice of wilderness right in the heart of town and Launceston's star attraction. Here you'll find walking and hiking trails and the world's longest single span chairlift spanning the huge natural basin which is often filled by the surging waters of the South Esk River. If you don't have a head for heights opt for a cruise along the Tamar River and enjoy this natural splendour from the water.
Right in the heart of Launceston is tranquil City Park, an oasis of towering trees, beautiful floral displays, ponds and monuments. The park is also surrounded by a number of charming old homes that add to the atmosphere, while children will love the resident ducks and the train ride. Other parks where you can enjoy a stroll or a picnic include Princes Square and Royal Park.
If you're keen to sample some of the quality local produce, Launceston has plenty to enjoy. Whether it be an award-winning cellar door experience at Josef Chromy, gourmet coffee Amelia Espresso or a tour and tasting at historical Boag's Brewery. Starting just south of Launceston the 106 mile Tamar Valley Wine Route takes in 32 exceptional wineries as it winds through countryside to Pipers Brook in the north and George Town in the west.
Those interested in wildlife may wish to visit nearby Narawntapu National Park, which provides many opportunities to see Australia's unique animals. Alternatively, Tasmania Zoo is the state's only fully-accredited zoo, and has Tasmania's biggest collection of animals including the world-famous Tasmanian Devils.
GMT +10 hour
Hobart is approximately 22 hours from the UK (including two stopovers). Launceston is approximately 120 miles north of Hobart.
Launceston has a cool temperate climate segmented into four distinct seasons. January to March are the warmest months and the sun can be surprisingly intense, while winters are a little chilly, with the mountains surrounding the city often capped with snow, but it rarely falls in the city.